Wigen murder investigation includes search in Juneau

Posted: Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Alaska State Troopers on Monday said they have served search warrants in Juneau and Tenakee as part of the investigation into the murder of a 19-year-old woman whose body was found April 1 in a shallow grave in Tenakee.

Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson declined to comment on why a warrant was issued in Juneau after Maggie Wigen's body was found in Tenakee and she was last seen alive in the small town 50 miles southwest of the capital city. He also would not say whether troopers have a suspect in the murder.

Wigen, 19, a resident of Juneau and Tenakee, was reported missing from her Tenakee home March 28. A Tenakee resident found her body April 1. An autopsy was conducted Monday and preliminary autopsy results may be available this afternoon if officials decide they can be released, Wilkinson said.

Troopers still have not positively identified the body as Wigen, said Wilkinson, but believe it is her. A forensic dentist was expected to help make that determination today. Friends and searchers in Tenakee said the body was Wigen.

Wilkinson said the cause of death is unknown and may not be released to the public.

"It may be one of those things that only the killer would know, and so we would want him to tell us first," said Wilkinson. "Sometimes that's the homicide detective's best tool."

He also said the state medical examiner may not be able to determine the time of death. That is significant since no one can say exactly what day Wigen went missing.

"The ground was frozen underneath her," he said. "So basically the ice stops the clock on decomposition of bodily fluids, which makes it very difficult to determine when someone died."

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.

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